Words of advice to the class of 2017

Published 1:34 am Saturday, May 20, 2017

Graduates, at this special time in your life, you deserve applause for your accomplishments.

Along with the cards and gifts you may be receiving, there’s something else freely given – advice. You’ll hear it from family, friends, and commencement speakers. I’ve compiled the following words of advice others have said and written through the years.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Don’t get a job. Get a career. Find something you love and do it.

No matter what the circumstances, always be honest.

Keep in touch with people who matter to you.

Think about what some important people have said. For instance, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist William Raspberry once told a graduating class, “The time to worry about your reputation is before you have one.” Listen to Albert Einstein’s advice, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

“The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse,” Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, once said.   “Graduation is only a concept. In real life, every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference,” states author Arie Pencovici.

William Carey spent 39 years of his life as missionary, sailing to India in 1793. He lived by the motto, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” When Carey died in 1834, there were some 30 missionaries, 40 native teachers, 45 stations and substations from his mission outreach. He completed a Dictionary of Bengali and English and translated the New Testament into three languages.

If John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, could speak to you today, he would say, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can, as long as you ever can.”

Solomon, the wisest human being who ever lived, wrote this truth you can depend upon, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJ).

The Bible says God knew you before you were born and He knows the plans He has for you to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).   Remember, you are a miracle. Who you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.

In conclusion, let me leave you with the words that Henry Varley, a London evangelist, told Dwight L. Moody, “The world has yet to see what God will do with and in and by a man (or woman) who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.” I encourage you to make a difference in your world by fully devoting yourself to God!


– Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at jwhite@andycable.com